Ear issues related to Wind- and Kitesurfing

Why is it important to protect your ear while kite- or windsurfing? Here are 4 good reasons:

Surfer’s ear

Surfer’s ear is extra bone formed as lumps that grow in the ear canal. The cause of it is exposure to cold water and wind, especially the combination of the two as the wind creates a chill factor when your ears are wet. So even if you don’t dip your head into the water as frequent when you are wind- or kitesurfing, compared to wave surfing, you will still be at risk due to the wind factor. 

The extra bone growth, also called exostosis is believed to be the body’s defence mechanism to protect the ear drum. The problem is that the exostosis doesn’t go away afterwards, instead it continues to grow. The first symptom of Surfer’s ear is often that water get stuck in your ears because of the bone lumps, which can lead to recurring ear infections. 

If the bone growth becomes severe, the only way to fix it is by surgery, where the bone lumps get drilled or chiseled out. The drilling method, which is the most common, includes cutting the ear open and flip it forward to give access for drilling. After surgery the ears get stitched back. It’s definitely not a pleasant procedure to go through and it will keep you out of the water for quite some time. Read more about Surfer’s Ear here.

Ear infections

Ear infections is often a side effect from surfer’s ear as water more easily get trapped inside the ears, which create a breeding ground for bacteria to cause inflammation, irritation, and infection. Symptoms can include pain, redness and swelling of the ear canal as well as an itchy feeling inside the ear. Pain when tugging the earlobe, or when chewing food, is also a common symptom. Read more here.

Raptured ear drums

Crashing into the water surface with your ear first, there is a high risk of rapturing your eardrum from the pressure of the impact. A raptured (or perforated) ear drum can be very painful. Ear drum rupture can also be caused by an ear infection. The eardrum usually heals by itself within a couple months, but it’s important not to get any water in your ears during this period.

Wind noise

Riding in high wind conditions can be a noisy affair, and it can actually contribute to hearing loss over time. A study made with cyclists showed that they experienced noise of 85 dBA, which is enough to cause noise-induced hearing loss over time, when traveling at 15mph (24 km/h or 13 knots). This makes it highly relevant also for kitesurfers, riding at high speed in windy conditions. The higher the wind- and riding speeds the noise increases.

The best way to protect your ears from all of the above issues is to wear earplugs. What sets SurfEars apart from most other earplugs is that they let enough sound through to not affect your hearing or balance, but effectively reduces a large portion of the high pitch wind noise, giving you a more comfortable and safer ride.

SurfEars come with changeable parts in different sizes, allowing you to customize them to fit your ears perfectly.

IMG_4892 2

Paul Serin wearing SurfEars. Photo by Hugo Badaroux.

Get SurfEars here